PORT PINETON, Maine — An apparent typo on a town hall flyer has led to the invasion of sleepy little Port Pineton by fans and look-a-likes of beloved bumbling TV detective Columbo.
According to Town Clerk Shirley Weston, flyers had been sent out to advertise upcoming Columbus Day festivities. What actually went up in the post office and on telephone poles, however, was different.
“Well, we have the same flyer every year,” Weston said, “but the town board was all ‘Let’s actually do something with Columbus Day this time’ so they asked me to add stuff like a parade and costume contest. But I guess when I spell checked it, I messed it up and Columbus turned into Columbo.”
All’s well that end’s well, however; and many residents who were initially surprised at the influx of trench coats say they now find the whole affair somewhat intriguing.
“To be serious with you, I forgot today was supposed to be Columbus Day,” said Howard Bell, a 74-year-old retired plumber. “Usually these days I go out to get the mail and don’t find it, so I come back and say to my wife Martha, ‘Martha, those government fools at the post office are getting’ lazy on us!’ and then she reminds me that it’s Columbus Day and I shrug and get a beer. Having these guys with coats around just feels more significant.”
The Columbo fans, who have faithfully sought out repeats of their show on basic cable ever since it ended in 1970, have felt a day such as this is long overdue.
“Yeah, we know it’s a mistake, but we’re taking what we can get,” Columbo impersonator Rich Hoffman said. “And really, Columbus Day is what, half a notch above Arbor Day? Columbo might’ve looked like a buffoon, but he always knew the real score. Columbus? Thought he was in India and didn’t even know the Vikings got here first. What a dork; didn’t they have news back then? I’d rather celebrate someone cool and fictional than a real-life doofus.”
Not everyone, however, is overjoyed with the change in festivities.
“I guess it’s nice enough,” resident Gladys Leechman said. “They’re all really polite, the detective people. But whenever I’m done talking to one, they start to walk away then turn around and go, ‘Oh, just one more thing.’ ‘One more what?’ I ask and they just sort of shrug and go, ‘Nothing, really. That’s just what we say.’ But they always do that! I don’t get it.”
Peter Falk, the mayor of Columbus, Ohio and the Swedish Bikini Team were unavailable for comment.